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College Expands Master's Programs in Nursing

May 3, 2006 -- Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles is expanding its already robust nursing programs with the recent approval of three new master’s degree tracks and one certificate program. The College currently has one master’s degree program to prepare nurses to become educators.

The new specialty areas are the Executive Leadership and Administration Track, the Community Health Track, the Clinical Nurse Specialist Track, and the post-master’s degree Clinical Nurse Specialist Track. Each program will accept about 25 students starting in 2007. Students may choose to begin coursework as early as January, but most are expected to enroll in August 2007. The new tracks will prepare nurses to work in various leadership roles in the medical field.

The College’s Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) program began in 2003 and now enrolls 37 students pursuing degrees to become nurse educators. An increased pool of nurse educators allows colleges to increase the number of nursing students, who in turn graduate and help the region alleviate its nursing shortage.

Six graduates of the Mount’s nurse educator program already are working as part-time instructors for the associate, bachelor, and master’s level classes at Mount Saint Mary’s University. Other graduates are employed at neighboring schools including L.A. Harbor College and El Camino College.

Marsha Sato, director of the MSN program, said even though Los Angeles needs more nursing instructors, it also needs nurses with master’s degrees to work directly in patient care and in leadership roles at hospitals and clinics. “We want to expand our programs to continue to serve the community,” she said.

“Nurses choose the Mount because the College is a strong educator in the liberal arts and is founded on a values-based philosophy that is ethically and socially just. We offer classes on weeknights and weekends to fit the schedules of students working full-time,” Sato added. Classes at the Mount also are personal and designed for maximum contact between students and instructors, leading to thoughtful dialogue in the pursuit of excellent nursing care and the promotion of nursing practice.

The Community Health Track will be the only such master’s program in the Los Angeles-area. Most graduates will likely work in Los Angeles County’s public health system, working with social service agencies to promote wellness, prevent illness, and address special health needs of all community members. The track is a 42-unit program that may be completed in about two years.

Students in the post-master’s degree Clinical Nurse Specialist track, for nurses who already have master’s degrees in nursing or a related field, would finish with at least 400 hours of clinical experience – enough to be considered for certification as clinical nurse specialists by the California Board of Registered Nursing. Students may also accumulate as many as 500 clinical hours to be considered for national certification. Clinical nurse specialists take on leadership roles in hospitals overseeing cases in specialty fields such as pediatrics, geriatrics, and cardiology. The track is a 27-unit program that may be finished in about one year.

In the Clinical Nurse Specialist Track, students complete a 43-unit program in about two years to earn a master’s degree in nursing. They also finish clinical experience to gain certification as clinical nurse specialists, either at the state or national level.

The Executive Leadership and Administration Track is a 35-unit program that may be completed in 16 months to two years. Graduates from this program will be able to provide leadership at various levels of institutions. Some career options include managing patient care areas, such as directing perinatal services, or working as chief nursing officer of a hospital.

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